November 12, 2021 9:09:08 am
A DAY after famers alleged that an SUV from Shiromani Akali Dal’s convoy was involved in a Lakhimpur Kheri-like incident during a protest in Ferozepur, two Shiromani Akali Dal leaders and their driver were booked by local police in a case of attempt to murder and rash driving.
An FIR was filed under Section 307 (attempt to murder), 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of IPC and Arms Act.
While SAD leader Vardev Singh Nonni Mann, who was party candidate from Guru Har Sahai constituency (Ferozepur), his driver, Gurvinder Singh, who was driving the SUV, and former SAD MLA from Ferozepur Rural Joginder Singh Jindu have been named in the FIR, no arrests have been made so far.
Meanwhile, 32 farmer unions of Punjab under the banner of Samyukta Kisan Morcha staged a dharna outside SSP office Thursday morning demanding registration of FIR against SAD leaders who were in the SUV that sped away with two farmer union leaders sitting on its bonnet. They also alleged that seven rounds were fired during the incident.
Finally, the FIR was filed on the complaint of Harnek Singh Mehma, district president, BKU (Dakaunda), who was one of the persons sitting on the bonnet at the time of the incident.
Farmers started dharna outside SSP office around noon and FIR was lodged in the evening, after which the dharna was lifted.
Manjit Singh Dhaner, senior vice president of BKU (Dakaunda), said: “FIR has been lodged against the Akali goons and so far they have not given anything from their side in writing at SSP Ferozepur’s office though they were levelling false allegations against us on Wednesday. We have lifted our dharna as of now and we will wait for a few days for the arrests of accused persons, otherwise we will start our dharna yet again seeking arrests of culprits.”
After the incident former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and party chief Sukhbir Badal had alleged that Congressmen were behind the attack on an car and even firing.
However, Mehma, in his complaint, mentioned, “I along with 10-15 other farmer leaders had gathered near blind school, Ferozepur where Harsimrat had come. We had informed the Ferozepur police on Tuesday itself that we will be questioning Bathinda MP about her party’s road map for masses and for farmers. We ask questions to every politician as per SKM’s call and gherao or protest against BJP leaders. Police had told us that only 10-15 persons should come but when we reached at the spot, Akalis were there in hundreds and they tried to overpower us. We waited till 4.30 pm, but when Harsimrat evaded our questions and left the venue, we stopped the SUV of Vardev Mann and to our surprise, they started driving the vehicle while I and Lovepreet Singh (another farmer from Karma village) were sitting on bonnet. They had to stop the vehicle near Dev Samaj College due to traffic congestion and hence our lives were saved. They almost made it another Lakhimpur-like incident.”
He added, “When the vehicle stopped, their own persons (Akali Dal) attacked the SUV and damaged it and later they concocted a false story….While I was on the bonnet, three rounds were fired by Nonni Mann and another four by his gunman. However, we were saved due to sheer luck.”
Sources revealed that SAD has so far not filed any written complaint with Ferozepur police related to Wednesday’s incident.
Former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal was supposed to visit Mansa city, Jhunir, Bhikhi areas of Mansa district on Thursday. But farmer unions had gathered well in advance in the different parts of the district to oppose this visit. Information revealed that all her programmes for Thursday were cancelled. Despite that farmers lodged protest in Mansa and burnt effigy of Akali Dal seeking arrest of SAD leaders.
Dhaner said, “Our call to boycott politicians in villages still stands as it is. But after Wednesday’s incident, we will oppose Akali Dal’s programmes and will not allow their leaders to enter villages till the arrests are not made.
Sukhbir Badal is slated to visit Jagraon on November 27 and he will face protests from farmers. We are telling him well in advance. As of now, SAD is concentrating more in urban areas, let them enter rural areas and they will test their popularity. This incident has angered the farmers. Just because no causality happened, it doesn’t mean that we will let it go. They will face the music for this act.”
Punjab BJP too demanded action against SAD leaders. Pushpinder Singhal, BJP’s Ludhiana district president, said,
“Ferozepur incident shows the anti-farmer face of Akalis and persons behind this incident should be punished and put behind bars. In Lakhimpur, when such an incident had happened, SAD, Congress were shedding crocodile tears but why double standards now. Lakhmipur guilty persons are behind bars and similar action should be taken in Punjab as well. However, I am finding a different approach of farmer unions as well towards this incident compared to Lakhimpur Kheri. Exemplary punishment should be given to the culprits.”
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